Vacationing tourists in Cancun got a surprise show when gunmen aboard water scooters shot up a roving vendor on the beach Thursday. The violent water-born attack in Cancun's hotel zone is believed to be unprecedented for the Caribbean city. Police say the shooting happened in front of a hotel in the heart of Cancun's resort-lined strip.
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The apparent target of the attack ran for safety inside a restaurant and no others were wounded in the surprise attack. Police cordoned off the area and located four bullets from what is believed to be cartel-related violence. A number of local gang fights for control of local territory have occurred in recent months. The city has already seen 130 murders so far in 2018.
On the same day of the water scooter attack, three people were killed outside a bar just outside of the hotel zone. Cancun police confirmed there has never been a water attack before in the city's recorded history. Criminals have been known to use vehicles to carry out attacks in Acapulco and in a 2016 attack, a gunman used a water scooter to flee the beach after killing a sarong vendor.
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The U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory urging "increased caution in Mexico due to crime." In regards to the state of Quintana Roo, where Cancun is located, the State Department said, "According to Government of Mexico statistics, the state experienced an increase in homicide rates compared to the same period in 2016. While most of these homicides appeared to be targeted, criminal organization assassinations, turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens."
Despite increasing violent crime, tourists have still found the destination attractive enough to risk the visit. MarketWatch recently noted, "The number of tourists visiting Mexico soared reached 35 million visitors last year, up 9% from 2015."
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